How #MeToo and #TimesUp Are Helping Egyptian Women Break the Silence Around Sexual Violence

Movements like Me Too and Time’s Up have put women’s rights firmly back on the agenda. But away from the spotlight, there are many other girls and women who are risking their lives to demand an end to sexual violence, harassment and inequality. Just recently, Egyptian activist Amal Fathy was arrested for posting a Facebook video in which she shared her experiences of sexual harassment.

But women in Egypt refuse to be silenced. One of these unsung heroes is lawyer and founder of the Center for Egyptian Women’s Legal Assistance Azza Soliman. Azza risks her own safety and freedom to defend survivors of sexual violence in Egypt.

I’ve been arrested and interrogated for doing my job: defending survivors of abuse in Egypt.

There is no comprehensive law covering all forms of sexual violence in Egypt. Many people believe that the blame lies with the girls and women involved, rather than the perpetrator, and survivors face shame and stigma.

The lack of clarity around what constitutes harassment or assault has created a culture where girls and women are afraid to speak out. With female police officers few and far between in Egypt, women’s experiences often stay shrouded in silence—the idea of reporting harassment or rape to a male officer is too intimidating for many women.

Now, the global #MeToo and Time’s Up campaigns are slowly changing the way girls and women speak out about violence in Egypt, and helping women break the silence. Witnessing women from different backgrounds, countries, and statuses speak out has given many Egyptians the courage to slowly share their experiences anonymously or under their names. They’ve even created an Egyptian equivalent to #MeToo on social media called “Ana Kaman,” a direct translation. Women, in Egypt and elsewhere, felt that they are not alone …read more

Source:: Time – World


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